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Calavera Owner to Head Up Oakland Airport Restaurant Lounge

Called The Escape Lounge, it’s an upscale airport lounge — with a fee

Oakland International Airport Oakland International Airport/Facebook

Oakland International Airport doesn’t have a ton going on food-wise — it’s mostly chains, with the occasional stand out like Fentons — but that’s about to change. Oakland chef/owner Chris Pastena (Lungomare, Calavera, Chop Bar) has teamed up with Manchester Airport Group (MAG USA) to open The Escape Lounge, a fee-based airport lounge that is already in Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, with a location coming to Connecticut's Bradley International Airport next month.

MAG USA is putting $2 million into the 2,700-square-foot lounge, which for $40, comes with unlimited food, drinks (there’s a full bar), WiFi, newspapers, and magazines. It’s billed as a more upscale, comfortable place to wait for your flight. “Oakland is becoming more of a destination city over the past 10 years, so to be able to get people to come in and out of OAK is a wonderful ability to showcase itself,” Pastena told Eater. “This is just an extra amenity for people to feel more comfortable and have a place where they can spend time in a much more relaxed atmosphere and know they'll get some really quality food options.”

Pastena’s menu focuses on fresh, organic ingredients, and he created dishes with the local scene in mind. He’s using many of the same purveyors that deliver to his restaurants now, with the exception of a few who could not make it work with the airport. He’s also possibly shifting some current restaurant staff to this new project. They’ll be executing dishes like granola and Straus Farm yogurt with oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, black currants with honey, vanilla, and cinnamon, or mac and cheese made with Baia pasta, Tillamook and Parmesan cheeses, and toasted breadcrumbs. You can see the menu in full below.

Pastena will be training and onboarding employees as the lounge opens, as well as switching up the menu about four times a year to keep up with seasonal ingredients. Escape Lounge is set to open November 1.

OAK Escape Lounge Menu

BREAKFAST BUFFET

Firebrand Pastries (Classic croissant, ham and cheese, bear claw)
Cured Salmon (Baron bagels, cream cheese, capers, and shallots)
Fresh Fruit (Changes seasonally: Melons, strawberries, blueberries)
Egg Frittata (Eggs, mushrooms, and kale with grated fontina and parmesan cheeses)
Fruit Scones (House made scones with dried fruit)
Muffins (House made muffins with fresh fruit)
Granola and Straus Farm Yogurt (Oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, and black currants with honey, vanilla and cinnamon)
Sweet Black Quinoa (Black quinoa with almonds and berries)
Hard Boiled Eggs
Cereal

BREAKFAST A LA CARTE

Breakfast Sandwich (Bacon, egg and cheese served with an arugula salad and citrus dressing)
Ricotta Pancakes (With house made fruit jam and whipped butter)

LUNCH/DINNER BUFFET

Roasted Chicken (Roasted in-house)
Vegetable Minestrone Soup (Tomatoes, chick peas, onions, celery, carrots and white beans)
Farro Salad (Mixed greens, beets, goat cheese, orange, with fresh herbs and a citrus dressing)
Fig Toast (Goat cheese, figs, and honey on a baguette)
Polenta (Mushrooms, oven-dried tomatoes, and parmesan cheese)
Olives (Mixed olives with orange zest)
Mac and Cheese (Baia pasta with Tillamook and parmesan cheese topped with toasted breadcrumbs)
Kale Salad (Roasted cauliflower and carrots, pickled onions, pine nuts and a sherry dressing)
Seasonal Vegetables (Green beans with cherry tomatoes)
“Ham and Cheese” Sandwich (Prosciutto Cotto and cheese with mustard on a pretzel roll)

LUNCH/DINNER A LA CARTE

Chopped Salad (Romaine lettuce, mortadella, salami, roasted chicken and parmesan cheese served with a sherry dressing)
Escape Burger (Beef burger with bacon, cheese and mayonnaise served with an arugula salad with citrus dressing)

ALL DAY BUFFET

Hummus and Pita Chips (House made hummus with pita bread)
Mixed Nuts (Roasted almonds, walnuts, cashews and peanuts with rosemary)
Cured Meats (Mortadella, salami, and prosciutto served with capers and French bread)
Cheese Plate (Brie, blue, and cheddar cheese served with honey, olives and walnut toast)
Chocolate Chip Cookies (Freshly baked in-house daily)
Bodino (Chocolate pudding with caramel sauce)
Panna Cotta (Infused with vanilla and served with fresh fruit)

Oakland International Airport (OAK)

1 Airport Dr, Oakland, CA 94621 (510) 563-3300 Visit Website

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